Charlotte protests remain in the national spotlight
Charlotte will remain on alert Friday after Mayor Jennifer Roberts imposed a city-wide midnight curfew in response to the violent protests over the fatal police-involved shooting of an African-American man earlier this week. Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency after Wednesday’s protests killed one protester and injured two officers and nine civilians. The demonstrations — sparked by the death of Keith Lamont Scott — were much calmer Thursday as authorities said they would not impose the curfew if protests remained peaceful. Attention now centers on city officials after police chief Kerr Putney refused to release footage of the incident to the public after allowing Scott’s family to see the video and promising a transparent investigation.
Oh, just get it over with already
If you can’t stand the suspense waiting for the outcome of the election — or you’re just sick of the whole thing — you can get relief starting Friday in four states. That’s when early voting becomes available in Minnesota, Vermont, Virginia, and South Dakota — the earliest of the states offering early voting. If you are in Virginia, you’ll have to give a valid reason for your absentee vote. Of the four states, you can wield the most influence in Virginia and Minnesota, both of which generally have had less than 10 percentage points separating Trump from Clinton in polls.
Power is slowly restored to Puerto Rico after island-wide outage
Cheers erupted as power was slowly restored to Puerto Rico overnight after amassive outage left most of the island’s 3.5 million people without electricity. The entire power system is expected to normalize by Friday.
The outage occurred after an electrical plant fire Wednesday and the failure of two transmission lines. The cause of the blaze, though, remains unknown. At least one person died from carbon monoxide exposure after setting up a personal generator, and Gov. Alejandro García Padilla declared a state of emergency Thursday. Business, universities and government offices all closed early Wednesday, which led to chaos on the streets that left one police officer in the hospital after being struck by a car. Airports, police stations and water plants will receive first priority once power is restored.
Marriott becomes largest hotel chain with Starwood merger
With over 1 million rooms and more than 30 brands, Marriott International became the largest hotel company in the world early Friday after it completed its merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. Marriott cleared its final hurdle Tuesday — after receiving approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the final regulatory consent needed — and expects to close the $12.2 billion deal before markets open Friday. The deal was first announced in November 2015, but competing offers and regulatory clearance slowed the progress. Starting Friday, members of the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty programs will be able to link their accounts.
Indiana man accused of trying to join ISIL to appear in court
An 18-year-old accused of trying to join the Islamic State will appear in federal court Friday after a grand jury indicted Akram Musleh on charges of attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Authorities arrested Musleh in June when he tried to leave Indiana by bus for New York to fly to Morocco. Musleh had posted videos of terrorist leaders and pictures of himself with a flag associated with the Islamic State on social media, and FBI agents made contact with him after becoming aware of his posts in 2013. Musleh faces 20 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and a $250,000 fine if convicted.